Challenge, Encouragement, Issues of the Day, Just for fun

I Won My Court Case!

Today I received email notice that I won my class action law suit! Wow, what a relief. I have been waiting for years for this case to come to a close. I think I actually gave up hearing any good news about this suit several years ago. 

Let me be more specific. I won a case against none other than that huge behemoth of a company, Apple and their optical disc drive unit in which apparently they overcharged or some such thing like that. It’s been so long I forget the original intent of the suit and exactly what the manufacturer did wrong. So, that said, I want all my readers to know I am going to the bank with the check and then thinking about how to invest it. I do want a return for all my pain and suffering.  

So, what to do with this sum of money? I could almost buy a value meal at McDonalds. I could buy a bit more than a gallon of gas. Or, I could go crazy and go on a vacation to my neighbor’s back yard and his nightly fireside R & R. 

You’re getting the picture I think. I generously received a whopping settlement of $7.61. I know, unbelievable after being named in this suit and waiting for years. But, hey, seven dollars is seven dollars, right?

Now for my point, because I sure hope there’s a point to this. Proverbs reminds us, “The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the Lord will prosper.” My trust was not in the lawsuit. For one, I’ve been in this position before and realized no compensation. But mostly because greed is looking for a return with little to no investment for the sole purpose of self-consumption. The greedy bring conflict upon themselves while those whose trust is in God will prosper. 

Trust your heavenly Father and prosper!

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Challenge, Children, Encouragement, Just for fun

Finding a Camera with Sixty-Year-Old Film in It

While my wife was cleaning out our attic, among tha many boxes (some that were not opened since moving from our first apratment) she came across an old Kodak camera that was mine when I was a young child. Fiddling around with it, I opened the film compartment and discovered a roll of finished film still in place. It had been waiting to be developed for 60 years!

At first I thought I would throw it away knowing it had been exposed to extreme cold and heat in our attic. But then my curiosity got the best of me and my wife and I decided to take it to the local drug store who told us they could in fact develop the film. 

Two weeks later and $18.00 less in my checking account, exactly eight pictures survived. Can you believe it? I was astounded.

They were black and white. There were several pictures of my Collie dog, Lady, and an unnamed cat. There was a picture of my mother on the phone located in our kitchen. It was an old-style black phone connected to a “party line.” (Meaning multiple parties were on the same phone line and if one party was talking you could not use your phone to make your call until they hung up.) 

There was a picture of my neighbor who was younger than me. And there was a picture of our camper trailer parked in a campground somewhere in Pennsylvania. 

I began to think about finding that film and what has transpired since those photos were taken by me as a very young boy. I thought about:

-All of the time that has transpired since those pictures were taken (six decades) and where life has taken me.

-How my heavenly Father has protected me, walked with me, blessed me and provided for me.

-How He has worked in my family since I received my Savior at age 17.

But, my most profound thought from this unusual find was regardless of age, time and life passing by, what has been hidden has a way of surfacing eventually and it will be exposed.

Jesus said, “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight.” (Luke 12:2,3)

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Challenge, Encouragement, History, Identity, Just for fun

A Shoe Salesman of Notoriety

Recently I was reading I Corinthians chapter one and came across these profound verses: 

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things–and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

I also learned a new word lately – orthopraxy. It means to practice good or correct orthodoxy. The above verse is really good orthodoxy and great to practice conscientious orthopraxy. However, good orthodoxy will save no one. But, it doesn’t mean we do not practice righteous or correct orthopraxy. 

Let me take you to a story about a man named Lyman from Northfield, Mass who possessed neither good orthodoxy nor practiced good orthopraxy. His father died when he was 4. At 17 he could barely read or write. He left home to work for his uncle in his boot shop in Boston. There he went to church with his uncle, didn’t understand the sermons so he slept through them. A Sunday School teacher took an interest in Lyman and led him to the Lord. The leaders of the church said he’d be of little use to the kingdom of God. 

Lyman moved to Chicago to sell shoes, and he really sold shoes. He went to a church in Chicago where they found him to be “irritating with his unpolished zeal, butchering grammar and theology.” So Lyman went to the slums of Chicago to speak to children who were unschooled street kids. Abraham Lincoln once noted that this man Lyman could take “legions of ragamuffin kids and study the Bible.” 

Then the shoe salesman started his own church. The church building was destroyed by the fire of 1871. He became a traveling evangelist. He spoke 230 words a minute, so fast that few could even understand him. He was, however, doggedly determined to spread the gospel. 

This salesman who weighed over 400 pounds went on to lead one million souls to Christ and started America’s largest Bible school and one of the world’s largest publishing houses. He trained and sent over 5,000 missionaries to overseas assignments in his lifetime. 

You might remember him by his full name, Dwight Lyman Moody. Wow, what can God do with those of us who were called but not the wisest, not the most noble, not the most influential and maybe the “weakest of our clan” like Gideon? 

Even though God chose the weak things like us, He still chose us to bring His good news and to make our boast in Him alone.

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Challenge, History, Just for fun

Pennsylvania’s William Penn, a Holy Experiment

William Penn landed in America in 1682 near what is known today as New Castle, Delaware. Penn belonged to a society called the Quakers. His faith was persecuted in England and he was coming to America to establish a new colony that he contended would be a “Holy experiment.” That experiment was a place where there was no established denomination or church.

 

Pennsylvania would be a safe, free of persecution, place for Quakers and other oppressed faiths from all across Europe. This new colony also attracted German-speaking Amish and Mennonite who came to be known as the “Pennsylvania Dutch.” The first city Penn would establish would be named Philadelphia–Greek for the city of “brotherly love.”

 

This experiment was said to be a great success as many differing denominations of Christians lived together in peace. Further, in Penn’s colony, there would be absolutely no ill treatment of the native Americans as Penn insisted they would be dealt with fairly and honorably.

 

Penn died in 1718, but many of his desires continue in this state. William Penn was the father of Pennsylvania, known as the Keystone State which means “Penn’s Woodland.” Penn’s Woods claims 63,200 farms covering nearly eight million acres. These woods still boast of over two million acres of dedicated state forest land.

 

Pennsylvania is rich in natural resources. Today its Marcellas shale gas fields are said to have enough natural gas to supply every major city of the U.S. for 200 years. Oil was first discovered in this state and coal has been a rich resource of energy in the past.

 

The soil of Pennsylvania is blessed. In the county I live in, Lancaster, one of 67 counties, there is a total of 609,181 acres and 439,481 of those acres are presently farmland. That farmland produces $469 million dollars’ worth of poultry and eggs, $425 million dollars’ worth of milk and $159 million dollars’ worth of beef cattle. The land also produces abundant crops of corn, forage, soybeans, wheat and other vital animal and human food supply.

 

William Penn, thank you for your “Holy experiment” as so many of us here in Pennsylvania, across America and the world enjoy the fruit of your faith and labor. Thank you for the righteous seeds planted of which we now reap the benefit. What difference are you called by God to make in your world today? What seeds are you called to plant so that a harvest of righteousness is reaped in the years ahead?

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Challenge, Encouragement, Just for fun

Are There More Grains of Sand or More Stars?

What are you thinking? Are there more grains of sand on every beach, in every desert or are there more stars in the heavens?

The University of Hawaii wanted to find the answer to how may grains of sand are actually on the earth today. They counted those grains found within a teaspoonful and then multiplied that by all the beaches and deserts in the world. The number? Their very rough guess was seven quintillion, five hundred quadrillion grains.

When you look into the heavens you can possibly see several thousand stars. But the Hubble telescope can count even distant galaxies of stars. Due to this it is estimated as of 2003 there are 70 thousand million, million, million stars that are observable within the universe. This means there are multiple stars for every grain of sand.*

Now check this out: “How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand…” (Psalms 139: 17, 18) And this: “He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.” (Psalms 147:4)

I am not sure if that gives you goose bumps but it does me. God’s thoughts about me and you outnumber the grains of sand! And God, the creator of each and every star has named them all. I am overwhelmed by the thought of His love, His thoughts toward me. I am so secure in that love and His thoughts toward me. 

Thank you, heavenly Father, for your love and thoughts that outnumber the grains of sand and the stars in the heavens for mankind who You love with an everlasting love!

*WITF Krulwich Wonders, David Blatner author of the book Spectrums.

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Challenge, Encouragement, Issues of the Day, Just for fun

How to Know You’re Aging Well

I love getting older. I am no longer in my mid-sixties, but have crossed that line. People initiate conversation with “older” people. That’s nice. Older individuals can get away with more because, well…they’re older. When I do something stupid, there seems to be more grace offered since I am older. 

But with age comes wisdom. The book of Proverbs states, “…the gray hair of experience is the spender of the old.” (20:29) Splendor sure sounds positive! Here are four observations that I have made about life at this age. I hope they give you something to look forward to.

  1. You will recognize a greater level of self-awareness. The older I become, the less I obsess about myself (disappearing hair, style, shaving, etc.) and find more joy in being other-centered. 
  2. You require less control. I find that I more readily admit that I don’t know something and feel okay about it. I am no longer proving myself to others.
  3. We walk in a deeper level of trust with God and realize we don’t always need to know what He’s up to or why He’s taking so long with His answer. I am more settled, more relaxed and more able to wait with a deeper level of patience.
  4. We recognize the need for a greater level of separation or detachment. We work, rest and play smarter. Detachment is no longer avoiding something that I should be doing. Detaching is recognized as healthy.

There you have it; four simple observations. Oh, and one more verse from wise King Solomon, “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life.” (16:31)

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Challenge, Issues of the Day, Just for fun

If You Would Have Purchased Apple Stock Instead

Most people love their Apple products. What would your bank account look like if rather than purchasing the new Apple product, you would have bought their stock instead–dollar for dollar? Well, in an article written by Yaron Yitschak found in the Plugged newsletter, this is what you would have realized:

The first iPad arrived April 3, 2010 and cost $499.00, but if you would have purchased the same amount of stock at that time you would have $3,000.00, a 500 percent profit. 

The first iPhone came out June 29, 2007, cost $499.00 and your profit today would be $5,700.00.

The MacBook arrived in 2006. If instead you bought $1,099.00 in stock you would have accumulated $22,500.00. A 2,000 percent increase.

The first Mac Mini came out in 2005 and cost $499.00. Your stock worth today would be $19, 700.

The iPod debuted October 2001, cost $399.00 and with a 14,500 percent increase your profit today would be $58,000. But wait…

One more. The first Macintosh computer was released on January 24, 1984 and the base model cost $2,495.00. If you would have rather opted to purchase Apple stock verses the computer you would have gained 38, 500 percent on your money and be sitting on $960,000.

Wow, that sure made me think. Unfortunately, I never had that kind of insight. While raising a family in the 80’s, there was no possible way I would have shelled out $2,495.00 for any stock to have possibly lost it all. But, I have been told repeatedly that if you like a certain product or company and think others will as well (think Amazon), then purchase a small amount of stock as an investment, e.g., 100 or 500 dollars. 

There is a Proverb that says, “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” When we expect an instant return on our money without any labor invested, we are gambling. Some say that investing in the stock market is like gambling, but publicly traded companies are owned by their investors, you and me. Your retirement account (IRA, 401K) more than likely has a percentage of your funds invested in stock.

What to do with the gain realized? There is another Proverb for that question, “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”

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Challenge, Encouragement, Issues of the Day, Just for fun, Parents

Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle or Santa Claus?

The story of Santa Claus goes back to the 3rd century. A patron saint, a monk named Saint Nicholas was born sometime around 280 A.D. in Patara, modern day Turkey. He was known as the protector of children. The name we use today, Santa Claus, was derived from the Dutch nickname of Sinter Klaas.

 

In 1881 artist Thomas Nast, drew what we recognize as our modern-day Santa: a plump, cheery and white bearded man. It was Nast who provided Santa’s bright red suit and North Pole workshop with elves and a wife, Mrs. Claus. Prior to this image, he was often depicted as a gaunt or scary-looking man.

 

In the 1890’s the Salvation Army began to use this image by dressing their donation collectors in Santa Claus suits. But where this image received a huge boost was from none other than Coca Cola.

 

Santa has been featured in Coke ads since the 1920’s and the image used was close to Nast’s original art work. From 1931 to 1964 Coca-Cola ads showed Santa delivering toys, reading his scroll-styled lists and always enjoying a Coke.

 

While Santa Claus and his imagery are fun for children around the world, it was a very real Catholic monk who was said to spend all his money on rescuing young persons from slavery or prostitution. He gave away his inherited wealth to help the poor and the sick. It is that St. Nick that sounds the most like the Christ, the first six letters of the word Christmas.

 

May we all display the true meaning and character of this Christ by serving others, giving gifts of meaning and remembering the needy around the world. Nine hundred years before the Son of God came to earth and was born in a manger, the Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, scribed these words:

 

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel [God with us]. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 7:14 and 9: 6)

 

(Note: Much of the history above is taken from History.com)

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Just for fun

There’s a Fast-Food Place You’ve Got to Try!

My wife and I get to the west coast of the U.S. at times and when we do…I have a confession to make.

 

We do love a hot, unique at times, different and fresh meal.  But every chance we get, we’ll request or gravitate toward a place called In-N-Out Burger.  It’s fresh, it’s hot, it’s clean, it’s friendly and it’s fast-food at its best! Real milkshakes, real fries, real burgers with very few menu options

 

My wife goes for the “protein burger” and I go for the “Double-Double.”  That’s 100% of double the meat and double the cheese. Harry and Esther Snyder started this California craze in 1948.  Not until the 1970’s did they start to expand and today there are around 250 restaurants as far east as Texas.   The current owner is Lynsi Snyder, the Snyders’ only grandchild.

 

 

But it was Harry and Esther’s son, Rich, who did something unique, something a bit subtle and yet awesome.  Rich was a devoted born-again Christian; it was Rich who decided to add the Bible verses to the chain’s cups and burger wrappers. “Hamburgers are so popular,” his pastor at the Calvary Chapel explained. He thought it was a great way to, “Awaken people to the fact that the Bible is relevant and has the answers for today’s problems.”

 

On every burger wrapper, on every French fry box and on every beverage cup there is a scripture from the word of God.  Yep, Harry and Esther’s son, Rich, is still getting God’s word out to every customer who comes through the door even though he was killed in a plane crash many years ago.

 

Not my usual blog post, but I do love a good burger.  So, if you’re ever near an In-N-Out Burger restaurant, it’s one great fast-food meal.  Make it a date night with your bride!

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